Most medical and surgical devices used in healthcare facilities are made of materials that are heat stable and therefore undergo heat, primarily steam, sterilization.
Sterilization destroys all microorganisms on the surface of an article or in a fluid to prevent disease transmission associated with the use of that item.
All medical instrument sterilization processes share three common features: air removal, a steam injection and sterilization phase and steam removal and drying.
Medical devices that have contact with sterile body tissues or fluids are considered critical items. These items should be sterile when used because any microbial contamination could result in disease transmission. Such items include surgical instruments, biopsy forceps, and implanted medical devices. If these items are heat resistant, the recommended sterilization process is steam sterilization, because it has the largest margin of safety due to its reliability, consistency, and lethality. However, reprocessing heat- and moisture-sensitive items requires use of a low-temperature sterilization technology